Sun. a.m. AGCC 6/13/99
"A WAR THAT CAN BE
TEXT: Eph. 6:10-13
Most countries do not go to war unless they believe they can win! No one
goes to war unless they also know they have the equipment to fight it. Yet, how
many Christians are completely unprepared for spiritual warfare or are unwilling
The fact is that as believers we have been enlisted in a battle against the
forces of darkness, it behooves us therefore to recognize the importance of the
battle and the proper preparations.
Spiritual warfare is a fact, not some fanciful concept, it is real.
A friend of my eleven-year-old son called one day, announcing he had a
problem with spiritual warfare. I asked him what I could do to help, and he
replied he wanted to speak with my son, Scott. Proud that my son was being asked
for spiritual advice, I later made a point to ask him how the conversation went.
"Oh, fine," Scott replied. "He just needed help getting to the next level of the
'Spiritual Warfare' Nintendo game." -- Chris Johnson, Britt,
Minnesota. Christian Reader, "Kids of the
Paul was very clear to the Church in Ephesus that they were engaged in a
battle, and that there was a proper way to prepare for it. We cannot ignore his
teaching on this important subject. We will be fighting the spiritual forces of
this world all our lives.PROP. SENT: The
Bible teaches us that we are to do battle with evil and to properly prepare
ourselves to succeed in this battle. God provides the equipment, but we must
willingly put it on and engage ourselves in the fight.
I. THE STRENGTH 6:10
A. Source 6:10a
1. Paul's statement "be strong IN the
Lord" teaches two important truths about spiritual warfare:
a. "be strong" - in the Greek it is a
passive tense meaning "BE MADE STRONG" -
meaning we don't have our own strength to do this battle, we must be given it IN
(1. God does not expect us to use our own strength to fight Satan and his
(2. We don't have adequate strength in ourselves to fight the
b. "IN the Lord" - in the Greek this too
indicates that our strength does not come BY Christ, but IN Christ!
(1. Our strength is not through some kind of personal exercise, it is found
in our relationship IN Christ.
(2. It is this relationship in Christ that makes possible the strength to
2. Evil will flourish if there are no Christians!
a. Hence the reasons for the great tribulation being so terrible one day,
the Church will have been raptured and evil will find its fullest
b. The hope of a just society does not lay in politics, education, wealth,
technology, it rests on righteous people!
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do
nothing. - Edmund Burke
3. Much of God's power to work in this world comes through His body, the
a. Hence our role in the world is far more important than what this world
would like to have you believe!
b. We must never take lightly our role in an evil world.
4. Paul wrote these words as a prisoner chained to a Roman soldier every
day, yet he spoke of power to fight!
5. Paul was not weak as a chained prisoner, he had power IN Christ.
a. And so do we, no matter the circumstances of this life, IN Christ we
have great power!
b. We must use that power responsibly to do spiritual
B. Secret 6:10b
1. Satan is a loser!
a. Though he attacks this world and even Christ's Church he will fail in
the end, for the secret to spiritual warfare is NOT our strength, but "God's mighty power!"
b. Satan likes to shoot for us, but he has aimed at the wrong source, for
when we fight it is God's mighty power in us that does the fighting and Satan
cannot defeat the Lord!
Aqaba in 1917 seemed impregnable. Any enemy vessel approaching the port
would have to face the battery of huge naval guns above the town. Behind Aqaba
in every direction lay barren, waterless, inhospitable desert. To the east lay
the deadly "anvil of the sun." The Turks believed Aqaba to be safe from any
attack. But they were wrong. Lawrence of Arabia led a force of irregular Arab
cavalry across the "anvil of the sun." Together, they rallied support among the
local people. On July 6, 1917, the Arab forces swept into Aqaba from the north,
from the blind side. A climactic moment of the magnificent film Lawrence of
Arabia is the long, panning shot of the Arabs on their camels and horses, with
Lawrence at their head, galloping past the gigantic naval guns that are
completely powerless to stop them. The guns were facing in the wrong direction.
Aqaba fell, and the Turkish hold on Palestine was broken, to be replaced by the
British mandate and eventually by the State of Israel. The Turks failed to
defend Aqaba because they made two mistakes. They did not know their enemy, and
they did not have the right weapons. We must be careful not to make the same
mistakes. Ephesians 6:12 makes it very clear who our
enemy is: "Our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark
world." -- Michael Boyland in Fresh Illustrations
for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of
2. Our encouragement in doing spiritual battle is found in the power and
presence of Christ in us.
3. This is the secret to success in waging war, God cannot fail, so neither
can we if we trust in Him and fight obediently with His provisions.
II. THE STAND 6:11
A. Solid 6:11a
1. No soldier would wage war improperly attired!
a. We do not send our troops into battle without proper equipment and
b. Paul encourages believers to put on "FULL
armor", not partial!
2. Too many Christians struggle in spiritual warfare because they are only
partially equipped, in the next several weeks we will explore the meaning of
each piece of equipment and demonstrate why each piece must be worn to be
victorious in battle.
3. A fully decked out Roman soldier was an awesome sight, and feared by
a. Full armor meant a soldier that was nearly invincible in battle.
b. No solider in his right mind would attempt a major battle without full
c. Yet, there are too many Christians that neglect putting on the full
armor of God when they do spiritual battle, that is a formula for defeat or
4. Only Christ can equip you to fight … there is nothing else in the world
that will make a person successful against Satan, trust in anything else and you
will be doomed to failure!
D. L. Moody, the great American evangelist, once said, "If a man is
stealing nuts and bolts from a railway track, and, in order to change him, you
send him to college, at the end of his education, he will steal the whole
railway track." -- Ravi Zacharias, "The Lostness of
Humankind," Preaching Today, Tape No.
5. The term, "Put on" that Paul uses
implies responsibility on our part.
a. While our real strength comes from God, our responsibility to properly
dress for battle rests on us.
b. We must be actively seeking to properly dress ourselves for battle,
failure to do this will leave us vulnerable and likely wounded or killed in
B. Schemes 6:11b
1. One reason we must act responsibly is that Satan acts with great schemes
to destroy us.
a. He fights dirty, so proper attire is our best safeguard.
b. All the equipment God gives us will do the necessary job of protecting
us, but only if we put it ALL on.
2. Too many Christians think that just getting saved is all they need to
live the Christian life, that is only the beginning!
When I was converted, I made this mistake: I thought the battle was already
mine, the victory already won, the crown already in my grasp. I thought the old
things had passed away, that all things had become new, and that my old corrupt
nature, the old life, was gone. But I found out, after serving Christ for a few
months, that conversion was only like enlisting in the army--that there was a
battle on hand. -- D. L. Moody, Leadership, Vol. 3, no.
3. A soldier learns how the enemy works so he is not fooled by him.
4. The Christian life is a serious endeavor.
III. THE STRUGGLE 6:12-13
A. Spiritual 6:12
1. Paul states outright here that our battle is not fought on the level of
"flesh and blood", we are soldiers in a
different kind of war, a spiritual war.
a. That is why we must understand that our weapons and armor is not
material in nature, they supernatural in nature.
b. We cannot beat the devil with the things of this world!
(1. we will not win the spiritual war with politics.
(2. we will not win the spiritual battles with higher education.
(3. it will take spiritual things to fight spiritual powers.
(4. it will take more than wealth.
(5. it will take more than technology.
2. We cannot think for a minute that everything around us is peaceful,
there is a constant battle waging.
3. As God's people we need to be ready and willing to fight at every turn,
to work together to fight the enemy of our souls.
During Operation Desert Storm, the Iraqi war machine was overwhelmed by the
Coalition Forces' ability to strike strategic targets with never-seen-before
accuracy. Unknown to the Iraqis, the Allied Supreme Command had dropped Special
Operations Forces (SOF) deep behind enemy lines. These men provided bombing
coordinates for military targets and first-hand reports on the effectiveness of
subsequent bombing missions. To avoid unintended targets, pinpoint bombing was
often required. A soldier from a SOF unit standing on the ground would request
an aircraft high overhead to drop a laser-guided missile. Using a hand-held
laser, the soldier would point at the target. The missile would hone in on the
soldier's target for the hit. In much the same way, the prayers of Christians
focus the attention of the spiritual powers on high. --
Steve Schertzinger in Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker),
from the editors of Leadership.
4. Sometimes we as Christians think the natural abilities of this world
will help us defeat evil and sin, such things as education, politics, reason,
and even the appeal to the better side of humanity, but these things are not
strong enough weapons or armor to defeat Satan and his powers.
a. We will need more powerful weapons than just reason, education, wealth,
b. Our weapons are not carnal ones, they are spiritual ones.
5. Satan laughs at man's attempts to beat him using the wisdom and powers
of this world, but he trembles when God's people come marching against him with
the presence and power of Christ!
B. Standing! 6:13
1. Paul concludes his introduction here by saying, "therefore" - in light of the fact that we must fight a
spiritual battle with spiritual things here is what we are suppose to "put on" and fight with!
a. Repeating again what he said earlier, "put on the
WHOLE armor of God."
b. It would be a tragic mistake to leave any piece of equipment
2. Satan fears nothing from all the religions of this world and all the
religious people or secular people of this world, the only thing he fears is
well equipped Christians!
When a Moslem makes a religious pilgrimage to Mecca, he kisses the Black
Stone (the stone that came down from heaven), drinks from the well of Hagar, and
throws stones at the three pillars that represent Satan. No doubt Satan is more
amused than offended. Certainly he is not wounded. If we want to do battle with
evil, we will have to do more than throw stones at pillars. We will have to live
holier lives and help others to do the same. -- Robert C.
Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company,
3. Paul remembers a simple fact, the winner of any war is the side that has
anyone left standing and so he gives his final admonition to them here before
describing each piece of equipment and what each piece means, he simply says,
"and after you have done everything, TO
a. We don't have to run ahead of God, nor lag behind, just STAND our
b. Roman soldiers stood their ground to show they were unmovable and the
battle and battlefield was theirs!
4. Remember Paul said that they must put on the WHOLE armor of God in order
to STAND their ground.
a. There can be no partial commitment in spiritual warfare, it must be
b. Anytime we try to win a war by a partial commitment we fail … this was
the message America learned in Vietnam, we tried to have our soldiers fight in
limited ways and it made it almost impossible to win against an enemy that was
5. How well prepared are you to wage spiritual war?
winners in any war are the last ones standing! If we are properly attired with
spiritual equipment we need not fear spiritual warfare. God has made available
everything we need to be victorious in any battle, but we do need to put these
things on! Are you ready for battle?